Bareilly Ki Barfi: A storytelling masterpiece 

It’s hard to believe that Bareilly Ki Barfi is Ashwini Iyer Tiwari’s second film. In just two films, she’s become a master storyteller, catching every nuance of everything – character, plot, setting, narrative, costume. I wouldn’t say that this film is better than Nil Battey Sannata, it’s not. But then, NBS had Swara Bhasker, and embodiment of talent. But Bareilly Ki Barfi is very much there. It isn’t perfect, but you end up having a anil across your face throughout!

The story is simple – Ayushmann Khurrana plays Chirag Dubey, who falls in love with Kriti Sanon’s Bitti Mishra. But she is in love with Pritam Vidrohi (Rajkumar Rao). What follows is a serious of amazingly written dialogues by Nitesh Tiwari, Shreyas Jain and Rajat Nonia, beautiful cinematography across Bareilly, primarily focussing on the homes, and some great acting by the actors!

Ayushmann Khurrana is a charmer. We last saw him in Meri Pyaari Bindu, and oh god! He is back to win over us with some great acting chops. But of course, he gets a little overshadowed by Rajkumar Rao’s brilliance. At present, apart from Nawazuddin Siddiqui, there is no actor as fine as Rao. The way in which he shifts from being a regular saree salesman to being a ‘bhai’ who might have just murdered someone is breathtaking.

But what comes as a surprise is Kriti Sanon. Though she is not at par with her male counterparts, but it seems like all she needed to do good is a director like Iyer Tiwari. The main reason why I couldn’t buy her as Breakdance Bitti is because of her diction. Khurrana and Rao get deep into their characters and adapt to them, but that seems not very much possible for Sanon. She does try, but falters. The right choice would, perhaps, be Alia Bhatt or Kangana Ranaut.

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Supporting actors Pankaj Tripathi and Seema Bhargava as Bitti’s parents are not a surprise at all. Both of them are fine actors and need no praise. But their characters sure do. Iyer Tiwari has carved out parents who are completely opposites of each other.  While the father raises the daughter as a son, all the mother cares about is getting her married.

Iyer Tiwari seems to know the dynamics of small towns pretty well. She did the same in NBS with Kanpur, which was brilliant. And now with BKB, the essence of the city is well portrayed. Using the city as an entity in itself is challenging, but Iyer Tiwari does it so easily! The differences between a boy and a girl in small town India is still very prevalent. Not everyone is lucky enough to live in the metro cities and hence differences between the sexes are definitely there. And it is these differences that make all the difference in the narrative!

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All in all, though the performances are powerful, the writing and Iyer Tiwari’s direction win the game for me! This Barfi has more to offer than just sweetness with so much wit!

If I had to rate the film, one extra week of diction training for Kriti Sanon would have resulted in a perfect film!

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